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Scholarcy's top tips for students

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Oliver Back
3 min read

Balancing university with your hobbies, social life, and mental health can be a lot to juggle, so here are Scholarcy’s top tips for students at university.

1. Take advantage of academics’ office hours

It can be extremely hard to stay focused for an hour, let alone for 2 during a lecture. It’s so easy to miss something a lecturer says whilst taking notes, or to not fully understand a topic.

It’s even harder when lectures are pushed for time, and you cannot ask a question in class.

For some, the thought of putting their hand up and speaking in front of potentially hundreds of their peers is a daunting task.

Visiting a lecturer 1-on-1, or even with another course friend can be a much more accessible way of asking a clarifying question in a judgment-free environment. Take advantage of these hours to catch up on anything you missed in a lecture, or for advice for proceeding with an assignment.

2. Form a study group

One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable is having a group of peers surrounding you, whilst you explore a new subject or topic. Here’s the best part – they don’t even need to be on your course!

For a lot of people, the only time they will work with others is whilst they are committed to a joint project or group work. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Body doubling can be an excellent tool for staying focused on a task. Plus it can be easier to get help figuring out a difficult task and work together on a solution.

Find a small group of friends that you can study with, whilst holding each other accountable.

3. Join a society

Having a routine activity outside of your lectures and seminars is a fantastic way to blow off some steam, have a distraction from work, whilst also meeting new like-minded people.

Many students will pick up a sport at university, but this doesn’t have to be the case. There are plenty of societies devoted to hobbies like crafts and gaming, or even language learning!

Having the routine of attending society meetings will be another reason to get out of the house and spend some time away from your course  – some much-needed downtime!

4. Learn how to manage your time more effectively

Time management is a crucial skill to learn, but many will join university without learning how to do it on their own.

This is a challenge lots of students face when transitioning from the structured support system they had at school and college, to unguided study at university.

Some prefer blocking out chunks of time to focus on reading while others prefer a more task-oriented approach, where time is blocked out with the intention of tackling tasks on a to-do list. Try experimenting with both and see which works best for you!

5. Learn the quickest route from your dorm to the library

This one should be obvious! Why do we want to know the quickest route to the library, or to your lecture theatres? Obviously, it’s so you know how to get to your lectures on time, or so you can meet your study group at the agreed place and time.

Learning how long it will take you to get to different places on campus is vital for ensuring you can properly plan your day. In point 4 we talked about experimenting with time-focussed, and task-oriented planning. Whichever of these methods you prefer, it’s really important  that you know what time to leave your flat in order to get to your lectures on time! Arriving late will leave you flustered and make concentration harder.

6. To-do lists make it easier to visualise goals

Having an actionable to-do list is a fantastic way to ensure that you are staying on top of your course requirements. Even if you prefer creating plans based on allocating set times for different tasks, tracking them on a to-do list is a perfect way to visualize what you need to do, as well as what you have already done.

On top of this, completing a task, and ticking it off causes a small dopamine release, which will motivate you to finish the rest of your tasks.

Mindmapping tools like MindView can be great to visual learners to map out the tasks they need to complete, and second-brain tools like Obsidian and Notion are fantastic for staying on top of to-do lists!

7. Take up a physical hobby

Having a physical hobby like a sport, or even taking a daily walk, is a great way to build exercise into your routine and get some much-needed head space from the pressures of studying. Getting some fresh air and doing something physical is fantastic for your physical health, but also your mental health.

Group sports can be another great way to make new friends and meet people you wouldn’t normally get a chance to.

8. Find cheap areas nearby to visit

For many, the only time they spend in their university town is whilst they are a student. A lot of students will move away from home to go to university, never fully explore the area, and then move away once they graduate. Living in a new area is a great way to have new experiences.

Travelling away from your university campus to visit a new area can be a great way to de-stress and forget about assignments for an afternoon.

9. Find a schedule that works for you

Just because someone in your flat, or your favourite TikTok study influencer says that they found the best study routine, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

It can be worth trying a schedule someone else suggests, but take it with a grain of salt. The way you work will differ from others, and it’s important to acknowledge that. Experiment with different routines to learn what works for you, and what definitely doesn’t. 

For some, working in their flat just doesn’t work, so taking the trip to the library is the best option. For others, studying in a crowded space around tens, if not hundreds of other students would be far too distracting.

Study music has become a popular genre on YouTube and Spotify, but that doesn’t mean it's everyone’s cup of tea. Try listening to music without lyrics and see how you get on. If sound bothers you whilst you work, you can always try wearing noise-cancelling earphones.

10. Keep track of any feedback you are given on assignments

Keeping a document with all of your feedback from prior assignments is a fantastic way to make sure that you don’t repeat the same mistake twice.

A feedback document like this can be an invaluable tool as you progress through harder assignments.

Sharing this document with your study group can be a great way of getting insights from others in your group, whilst seeing areas they struggled with as well.

Having a shared insight into what your lecturer is looking for when grading assignments means you can stop dropping easy marks, and understand how to go for higher grade boundaries.

If any of these tips are interesting, give them a try! And if you feel we missed any, let us know!

For more tips like this, check out Scholarcy's Instagram and TikTok pages!